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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Stevia - How Sweet It Is!


When life gives you lemons, add sweet tea. 
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It has been a wonderful few weeks in the garden at Estle Schipp Farm!  Everything is green and growing quickly.  We've enjoyed fresh, crisp salads and are eagerly awaiting that first ripe tomato.  The herb garden is also bringing great growing joy!  

The chives are straight and tall, the basil leaves are fragrant and green and the rosemary has taken root and sprouting new growth.  There is a new addition this year from a find at a local farmers market - Stevia! 

I was strolling through the tables laden with herb plants of so many varieties, enjoying the beauty, the fragrance and all the possibilities and I happened to see a single pot of Stevia.  I picked it up and the lovely lady farmer asked me if I had ever tried it.  I had not, of course.  "Taste a leaf - go ahead"...so I plucked a small one and placed it on my tongue.  Oh my goodness...it is a intense sweetness and so different than the herbaceous flavors of other herbs.  I was intrigued, to say the least, to think of how I could use it.

The plant is already growing well in the corner of our herb garden.  The plant is not cold tolerant so I will need to either dig it up and place in a pot to over-winter indoors or else treat it as an annual.  We'll see how the season goes.  

Using Stevia is pretty easy.  The fresh leaves can be crushed and added to your iced tea for sweetness without the calories of sugar.  The leaves can also be dried, whirred into a powder in your food processor and used in recipes.  The sweetness of Stevia is way more than regular sugar so I'll have to do some experimenting to use it as a sugar replacement. I really like the idea of growing this plant myself and have options over white, granulated sugar from sugar cane - especially since I'm pretty sure that growing sugar cane in Indiana would be an exercise in frustration.  ;)

What new herbs are you growing this year? 

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp

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3 comments:

  1. Great article, my family and friends are all of a sudden “Stevia lovers.” I have always had my reservations and your article just confirmed it. I am going to forward this one to my friends and family so that they can make a more informed decision.

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